Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley announced Tuesday that he will not seek another term as the mayor of the city he has led for more than two decades.
Daley announced his decision during a press conference at City Hall.
"Now I am ready with my family to begin a new phase of our lives," Daley said, noting that he had considered the decision over the course of the last several months.
"I have always believed that every person, especially public officials, must understand when its time to move on," Daley said. "For me, that time is now."
Daley was elected mayor on April 4, 1989, to complete the term of the late Harold Washington, and was re-elected in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 according to his biography.
The Daley is the son of Richard J. Daley, who served as the city's mayor between 1955 and 1976.
The Chicago mayoral general election will be held February 22, 2011.
White House Press Secretary Rahm Emanuel has in the past expressed interest in the job, telling Charlie Rose of PBS in April that, "[O]ne day I would like to one for mayor of the city of Chicago. That's always been an aspiration of mine even when I was in the House of Representatives."
In a statement released Tuesday, Emanuel did not indicate whether he will pursue the seat, but did say he was surprised by Daley's decision.
"While Mayor Daley surprised me today with his decision to not run for reelection, I have never been surprised by his leadership, dedication and tireless work on behalf of the city and the people of Chicago," Emanuel said.
With the election to be held early next year, Emanuel will have to decide quickly whether to leave the White House and launch a bid for the office.